As a result of a suicide bombing, two beautiful teenage girls die at the same moment, together, at the entrance to the supermarket in Kiryat Yovel.One is a Jewish girl named Rachel. The other is the suicide bomber, a girl named Ayat.
Surprisingly, they look alike, with their long, black hair.
To Die in Jerusalem, directed and produced by Hilla Medalia (2007, 76 minutes), is a documentary about the two girls and their mothers. The mother of Rachel is determined to talk to the mother of the Ayat, the suicide bomber, from Dehaishe near Bethlehem.
Attempts are made to organize a meeting between the two women, but it is the height of the intifada and they are unable to meet. Eventually, they organize a meeting via satellite conference call and some surprising things are said. It is as if the two mothers are like skewed lines, that can never meet.
At a screening last week at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the filmmaker told the audience that she grew up near Tel Aviv and had never seen a refugee camp, until she went to Dehaisheh for the making of the film. She had to sneak in, because Israelis aren't allowed in and she spent days and nights in the camp, interviewing the parents of Ayat. She talked about how hard it was to try to get the two mothers together. She looked for a neutral place but there is no neutral place. She explained that both mothers strive for peace, but there was a disconnect. "Each of them had a different agenda." Both of them are right and both of them are wrong. "My guidance in the making of the film was to try to stick to the truth of the mothers, to represent them with honor."\
To order To Die in Jerusalem, contact Hilla Medalia at firstname.lastname@example.org or her distributor, Ravit Turjeman at email@example.com or Docs for Education.